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Happy Anniversary, Project Diana!

This day in history: the US Army Signal Corps bounced a satellite signal off the moon 65 years ago today!

Diana Certificate

At Fort Monmouth’s Camp Evans site, on January 10, 1946, the US Army Signal Corps made man’s first contact with the moon.  The Signal Corps modified a radar set, the SCR-271, from World War II to be able to send a signal from earth to the moon.  The director of the Evans’ Laboratories since 1943, John H. DeWitt, Jr., was the first person to hear the signal that bounced off.  However, the man – indeed, the genius – that did all the math and physics to make this contact was Dr. Walter McAfee.

Newspaper photo from 1970 for an earlier Diana Anniversary.

The CECOM History website has dozens of scanned in images and documents relating to Project Diana.

Group photo of Project Diana employees

Another part of this story that’s equally exciting, is that another famous Fort Monmouth person impacted all of this: MAJ Edwin Howard Armstrong.  According to the InfoAge science and technology website, “the Diana team used equipment supplied by MAJ Armstrong!”

Aerial photo of the Diana Site and tower.

Samuel Barnes wrote of the amazing advancements of this branch of the Army:

“In this century, I have bounced sensitive whispers off the moon, and guided manmade moons in orbit around our earth. For the first time ever, I have cupped my ears and listened to satellites. My far reaching voice can now reach across the vast expanse of space. I can guide rockets and missiles … I can do that and more. I am the Signal Corps …”

The Diana radar with the moon in the background.

And thus the space age began…

Posted in From the Archives, This Day In History.

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